Creator of tough new Cameron 'to step down after election'

David Cameron plans to replace his controversial chief spin doctor, Andy Coulson, at the next election. The former
News of the World editor, who has masterminded the Tory leader's slick communications strategy for the past two years, will not continue in his role even if the Mr Cameron gets to Downing Street, senior party insiders have revealed.

Mr Coulson's contract expires at the next election. It is understood he will leave at or shortly after polling day under a mutual arrangement. The move will leave the Tory leader searching for a similarly tough Alastair Campbell figure if, as expected, the Conservatives win power.

Mr Coulson, who is rumoured to be on a substantial six-figure salary, is admired by Mr Cameron and there is no suggestion that the two men have fallen out. Following his appointment in May 2007, Mr Coulson was responsible for bringing a tougher edge to the Tory leader's image, shifting emphasis away from promoting green policies and "hug a hoodie" messages towards a tougher stance on crime and Britain's "broken society".

One insider claimed Mr Coulson was planning to earn a fortune in PR as a "Matthew Freud of the right". But his planned departure is also convenient for Mr Cameron because of the difficulties that his presence in No 10 could pose. Mr Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after his royal reporter, Clive Goodman, was imprisoned for four months for intercepting mobile phone messages left for aides of senior royals. An insider pointed out the potential problems of a Prime Minister Cameron going for weekly audiences with the Queen if Mr Coulson remained as communications director.

When he resigned, Mr Coulson said Goodman's actions were wrong and that he "deeply regretted" that they had happened on his watch. But he refuses to deny being aware of the illegal activities of his reporter and Glenn Mulcaire, the security consultant also jailed for the interceptions.

Mr Coulson, 43, is said to have had professional disagreements with Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron's strategist, despite claims from both men that they work well together. Mr Hilton and George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, were both involved in recruiting Mr Coulson. Mr Hilton last year moved to California, while continuing his role from afar. However, the strategist is spending more time in Westminster in the run-up to the election.

A source close to Mr Coulson said he had indicated his intention to step down after the election. The source said: "There are rumours that he would go back to journalism but it's highly unlikely. It's much more likely that he will go into PR and set up his own firm. He would be the new Matthew Freud of the right."

But one senior Tory was more disdainful, saying: "I have always thought about Coulson that his game is laundering his reputation, filling his contacts book and going off and making as much money as he can."

A friend of Mr Coulson said that he has never made any secret of the fact that his contract with the Tories expires at the next election, but played down rumours of any grand plans for afterwards. "Andy is just focused on the election and hasn't got any plans beyond that."

Last night Mr Coulson declined to comment when asked whether he would work for Mr Cameron beyond the election.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world